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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Good Horse Forums?

Which horse forums are good for obtaining solid information about horse care, trail riding, ranch work, politics, etc.  I'm not looking for more of the ridiculous "purely positive" crap I find in the Border Collie world, or the politically correct heavily moderated forums.  Real people, real issues, real responses. 

Any suggestions?

Monday, April 25, 2011

Don't Break Your Arm ...

It's too bad I've burned out on the whole sheepdog competition thing.  Even reading blogs makes me want to hurl.  Blogs, lately, seem to be nothing more than a place to unabashedly brag about your dogs, what their breeding is, who they train with, what competitions they've run in, and who the person was sitting next to when it all happened.  "Here's my dog.  This dog is out of (famous person's 105th male) bred to (another famous person's 60th female that's been bred 400 times to aforementioned famous person's 105th male).  As soon as this dog is old enough, I will send it off to be trained with (another famous person), who happens to be the (same famous person) I send all of my dogs to because I just like to trial my dogs and take all the glory and train none of them because I have the money.  So-and-so says this is going to be an awesome dog!  It should be.  It's related to my (open dog) and (my other open dog) and (my other open dog ... none of which I trained).  And then when I fail miserably at trialing this dog, I will sell it to someone who will do well with it, and then I will brag about how I sold them the dog, and then fail to mention then how I couldn't trial it myself, but don't forget it is out of very famous dogs and trained by a very famous trainer that I paid for!" 

Gag me.

It's too bad with all of that money, not a lick of social skills can be bought.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Unchartered Waters ... for me, anyway

 Went to Owyhee Lake this afternoon.  It was a gorgeous day when we left, but a bit overcast when we got there.

 Got to see the "Glory Hole" in action!  The water is taken in through here ... and spit out on the lower side of the dam.

It was kind of eery standing directly over the hole and leaning over to take a picture into this giant suction.

It made me wonder who fast you'd come flying out of here if you fell in the hole.

Got some stuff done this weekend also.  The gate to the round pen needed to have a post erected and set in concrete.  I'd never done that before, but here it is.  I leveled it the best I could.  I'll check it tonight when I come home and see how close I got.  I'll hang the gate later this week when the concrete is good and set.

As you can see, it was a bit late in the evening by the time I decided to take photos.  Good neigbor and I also replaced our joining fenceline that I mentioned a couple of posts ago.  There were three layers of dilapidated fencing we took down:  field fence, no-climb horse fence, and of course, barbed wire.  In its place are the panels from my dog kennel (that have the no climb on it to prevent puppy escapes), plus a couple of new panels we picked up at D&B.  It's not perfect, but it's much better than it was.  I am hoping to buy a panel each paycheck (I know ... I've said this before) and hopefully fence my entire place in panels.

On one of the other gates to that pasture, there was no hinge ... so we propped it up last winter and decidede to deal with it later.  Well, when Dean came over yesterday, he had come up with an idea.  In futzing with it, we modified his idea several times and came up with a great fix for the hinge.  Here it is from both sides.  This was a bit of a pain in the butt, but we got it done and it works great.

That hinge thingamajig is off a chain link gate. 

And here is the climbing vine I'm going to plant in my whiskey barrels on the deck.  I hope it works.

More later,

Friday, April 15, 2011

Life at Cow Camp

I am not sure this will work, but if it does ... these are awesome photos!


The photos are taken by Kat Suphin.  She owns Deucey and Foxy ... two sons of Zip.  (Ssssshhhh! A working merle that throws good working dogs ... that can't be!!!)  Kat lives the life that some girls only dream of.  Some day I will have to make it out there to see her and the dogs.  I keep saying that.  I need to get off my duff and make it happen.

(If the link doesn't work, please let me know ... )

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Last Outlaw

I love living out here.  I have the best neighbors on the planet ... Dean and Brooke are a barrel of fun!  I was just over there talking to them, and we were talking about the Department of Fish & Game, and how the last time he was in there ... he saw (can't think of her name...) ... and how she turns out to be "Pogue's daughter."  Well, I asked "Who's Pogue?"  And then we rolled into one of Dean's great stories, only this one is legendary in Southern Idaho.  The legend of Claude Dallas.  We also had a really good laugh about the fairly recent article in the Idaho Statesman about the embarrassment of his escape. 

"Claude Lafayette Dallas, Jr. (born March 11, 1950) was a self-styled mountain man. The son of a dairy farmer, he spent his early years in Luce County, Michigan, later moving to rural Morrow County, Ohio where he liked to trap and hunt game. Dallas graduated from Mount Gilead High School, Mount Gilead, Ohio in 1967. During the Vietnam War, he dodged the draft and fled west, earning a living as a ranch hand and trapper. Dallas was eventually charged with killing two game wardens in rural Owyhee County, Idaho, in 1981. In 1986 Dallas escaped from prison and eluded law enforcement officials for a year before being captured.

Dallas attracted national media attention after both incidents, becoming a particularly controversial figure in Idaho. Some Idahoans saw him as a folk hero, defying the government by defending his right to live off the land; many others, however, were shocked and disgusted. After a manslaughter conviction, Dallas served 22 years of a 30-year sentence and was released in February 2005."

Here is the rather comical article about the escape blunder in the Idaho Statesman:  ARTICLE

Someone even wrote a song about him.

A Young Working Zip

I don't remember exactly where these photos were taken, but it was down in Southern California somewhere.  And I know at least a couple of the photos were taken by Paw Prints Photography (or something like that) down there. I am trying to remember the woman's name.  Nice nice person.  Anyway ... here's a few of the shots she took.

And here's a few more.  A couple of these you might recognize from calendars and magazines over the years.  I have scans of the magazines somewhere also, maybe I'll drag them up at some point.

Looking back at these photos reminds me of how long I've been working with Zip.  The other day, I was out moving my sheep literally across my driveway from one pasture to the other ... dogless.  You'd think this was a simple chore.  Sure ... all the sheep came through, except the two lambs couldn't figure out how to negotiate the gates, so Momma was very patient and kept going back to pick them up, and then continually ended up on the wrong side of the gate somehow.  I finally decided I needed to leave my post and get behind the lambs, which leaves a little gap for sheep to squeak out of if they wanted to.  And they did.  While I was helping the lambs, one of my yearlings decided it would be fun to go explore, which caused several others to follow, including the two little lambs I was trying to help.  I got everyone back in, except for one of the littlest lambs, before giving up and going and getting a dog.

I got Zip.   

He looked at the situation, went alongside the road, got behind the lamb, brought the lamb to me, I opened the gate, he put the lamb with Momma, then he picked up all of the sheep and moved them from one pasture to the other, and even when the sheep went into the big pasture, Zip stopped at the gate, and stood there while I closed it and patted him affectionately.  It took him about 30 seconds to accomplish what I was messing with for at least 15 minutes. 

And I never said a word to him.

There exists such a prejudice against colored Border Collies, that even when they are good working dogs, they are discredited.  People seem to want to hold them to a higher standard than they would a black dog, and at the same time, they seem to give some black dogs credit where it really isn't due.  I feel very fortunate to own a very nice working blue merle.  Sure, in the grand scheme of things, this was a very simple task, however, it was done completely by him with no direction from me, and done for me.  He's been a great teacher, very patient with my less-than-stellar handling, and has turned into a great dog despite ... well ... me.  I know I can trust him in any situation I put him in, and he will get the job done, and none of my sheep will be worse for the wear.  We've been through a lot together, and the complete mutual trust of each other is something built over time ... and simply amazing when you have it.

How's that for a sappy trip down memory lane?



Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Flying Reese

I haven't had trash service in quite a while.  Instead, I've been taking my trash over to Jaenne's and using her service mainly when we get together for dinner or whatever ... thanks Jaenne!  I'd take the bigger stuff to the dump.  The reasoning behind it was money.  For as seldom as a single person fills up a trash can, paying $35 per month (or whatever most rural services want), it wasn't worth it.

Enter Idaho Garbologists!

My neighbor told me they were charging $10 per month!  "No way," I thought.  So I sent them an email.  Sure enough ... it's $10.11 per month, billed quarterly.  Hell yeah, sign me up.

I came home tonight and voila!

I know.  Who does this, right?  Who takes a photo of their trash can?  ME!  I have lots of plans for this can!  Gotta love it!

It was gorgeous out, so I decided to take a look around the property and see what needed immediate attention.  I took my camera with me.  Let's take a tour, shall we?

This is right outside my front door.  No, I'm not photographing the flowers, and quite frankly, am surprised they exist.  All around them is slate tile from when the tile floor in the kitchen got torn out over a year ago.  I still have not finished cleaning that up.  That's a job for the Mighty Garbologist can!

Moving on ... into the west pasture.  If you remember, there used to be a mobile home on this "pad" and when the guy came and took it out, he did a pretty good job of taking 95% of the stuff with him, leaving me some broken concrete, some trash, and lots and lots of glass.

Here is almost the exact same photo from the day I first saw the house.

What a difference, eh?

I raked up the glass last year.  This is a new crop that grew out of the ground. 

And the raspberry vines ... what an eyesore.  And there's a whole bunch of bark and crap on the ground.

This is actually a very pretty little tree when I can keep the sheep away from it.  I need to fence it off.

Here's a gate and post waiting to be put up.

And this fenceline is in desperate need of being replaced with panels.

This is a pretty bush when it's in full bloom.

The fencing around it, however, is an eyesore that needs fixing.

Here's the inside of the mobile home pad.  I raked this last year.  This is a new crap crop.

And this poor apricot tree ... it needs pruning so badly.  I am sure it will cost me a small fortune.

 I love the blooms on it.  I was taking some photos of the blooms ...

...And when I edited the photos, I found this.

And this:

Thought that was pretty cool.

Some pallets ready to be screwed together to make a small holding pen for the sheep (along with the pallets you can barely see behind them).

The railroad ties that are waiting for the bon fire to be started and the massive pile of junk to be turned to ash so the garden can be put together.

I look into the front pasture, and the sheep are having a great time.  Lambie races were going on!  Here are some lousy photos as I snuck up on them.

Even Pepe and Momma got into it!!  Go Pepe, you fat ass!  (Momma, what is that on your face?)

All is calm again...

My neighbor came over the other day and sprayed the weeds in the "borrow pit" in the front of the house where we trimmed that huge bush a month ago or so.  It did a great job of killing stuff off.  Now I've got to rake all that crap out of there.  I imagine I could probably rake it away from the vinyl fence and burn it.

I went into the pasture with the idea that I could get a nice shot of the sheep with the house in the background, and use it for the top of my blog ... kinda like the "ranch" photo.  I saw this and couldn't resist.  A family portrait ... but, er, um ... Momma!  What is that on your face?

Pepe ... you're quite the dude.

So I was starting to arrange the shot ... and was going to wait for the sheep to relax because this looked a little silly ...

... when all of a sudden, the sheep took off to my right.  WTF????  I took the camera away from my face ... and this is what I saw.

Master Escape Artist.  <--- I will re-address this later.  At this point, I didn't realize exactly how big of a hassle this posed.

Because I am such the disciplinarian, I told her off, grabbed her by the scruff, shook the crap out of her, took her back up to the house, threw her in a crate, and didn't feed her for a week.

Ok, not really.

I had the camera with me and thought, "what the hell... why not?"

Enter Reese.

Ok ... now I know I've mentioned she's fast.  I am not lying.

She is hard to photograph without getting dizzy and falling on your ass.

I do not have one photo of her and the sheep in the same photo.  She stays a pretty good distance off the sheep for the most part, so that's great.  She just has to figure out where balance is.  I've never had to teach a dog where balance is, but I'm getting it.  At first, I started stopping her mechanically on balance and walking her up, but I want her to feel it.  So I figured out that if I run backwards fast enough, when she overflanks, she's starting to correct herself and fall in to balance.


She is great fun to work! 

Caught this out of the corner of my eye.  I love spring!

And this is the bush I transplanted from Jaenne's house.  I am not sure it's alive.  The leaves are crumbling off.  I should probably prune it back and see if it makes it.

Ok, so I went into the house, put the camera down, got a beer, found the rake, and my brand new trash can and went to work.  Here's some photos of the result.

I found a mohair bush!  I could make millions!

I went down into the irrigation canal to check out the job I did shoveling out my access the other day.   My property is along the right there. 

The back side of the backyard that has the chickens, etc.

And here's my irrigation access pipe.

I dug this all out ... and there's that piece of rebar in there that I'm not sure what it's for.

I wonder if it has something to do with one of those big headgate things that has the wheel on it about waist height.  That would be good.  I should have taken photos of the way I have to turn the water on and off right now.  My face is pretty close to the ground when I do it, and last year, I had a black widow on me ... good thing I saw it before she figured out she was on me.  Another time, I got a tick in my hair.  Ew!

See the sign behind Zip?  That my crabby neighbor's "No Tresspassing" sign.  This is the house to the east of me (not my awesome neighbors ... the other way).  This is the guy that threatens to shoot me or call the cops or whatever when I walk on the irrigation canal in front of his house.  Here are some pics.

His house.

From my house to his.

I love the purple wildflowers (weeds?)...

This is one of the corners of my property.  I have no idea what this mess is.  Haven't gotten here yet.

This weedy area is another small piece of my property (I think ... at least that's how it shows on the maps...) and this is the piece that my (good) neighbor and I were talking about fencing off and grazing.  I think I'll try to work on that this weekend.

And this is the dog run that I temporarily put up when I first moved in.  I think it's time to take it down and start revamping this whole dog thing.  I can use these panels to do the fenceline previously mentioned in this past.  This is the kennel run that Reese got out of.  The problem with that scenario is ... I walked the fenceline and can't see an access hole.  That means she scaled it (the metal part ... I hope).  Ugh.

Here are "the girls" settling in.  They are giving me about 9 eggs per day.  My co-workers are buying dozens of eggs from me, and the money is going back into this food that these birds are apparently diggin'!

I love this tree.  Another apricot tree, I think.  But I love the color of the blooms up against the pig house.

Well, that's it for now.  Survivor tomorrow night, so I doubt I'll get much, if anything done.